Once every so often there is a game that comes out that can seemingly take the world by storm. Pokémon, Halo, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Fortnite are just a few to name off hand. Recently, the open world survival genre has seen a spike in games that have taken their shot, some landing like Rust and The Forrest, while others seem to miss the mark such as Fallout 76. However, no matter how you cut the pie in the genre, there is one that stands above all others. This game not only holds the crown for the king of the genre but recently found its way to Xbox Game Pass in January 2019. This game is known as none other than Ark: Survival Evolved.
Love it or hate it, Ark is still the most played game in the genre and still maintains a beefy player base despite claims of it “dying.” This game now has a unique advantage to increase that player base on Xbox by providing it to the subscribers of the Game Pass service. What also makes this more unique is that Ark: Survival Evolved is a play anywhere title and includes cross-play with the Windows 10 system.
Since there is likely to be even a small spike in new survivors I thought it would be necessary to give some words of advice for the game that I have come to enjoy and play for the past 3 years alone. This list will include advice for playing solo or in multiplayer, on official or dedicated, on PvP or PvE.
When playing Ark: Survival Evolved there are some rules that you need to abide by for true survival. Not following these rules can result in some dramatic consequences, so it is encouraged to heed the advice given.
1) Never Trust A Bob – This rule is the golden rule of Ark. So what do we mean by “Never Trust A Bob?” Once upon a time when you would create a character on Ark and failed to give it a name, you would be given one of several automatic names depending on your gender. Commonly Bob & Joe would be assigned to male characters while Jane and Anne would be assigned for female characters; currently, the default name does result in Human but make no mistake, this is a Bob and Bob is guaranteed to be an asshole. Think of it this way, someone who doesn’t take the time to genuinely name their character is only there for one purpose and one purpose only, to troll, to grief. These players a dime a dozen and they will do everything within their power to ensure your time on Ark is unpleasant. Avoid these characters at all cost and thank me later. For those who literally intend to name their character Bob, be more creative for the sakes of the game. Lesson learned: Bobs are assholes.
Fun Fact: The first person I was ever trolled by was a character named Bob Ross, and this Bob did NOT paint pictures.
2) Prepare to die a lot early in the game – This is a literal expectation to have going on into the game. If you’ve never played the game before, let alone an open world survival, there are a lot of things in the worlds of Ark that are hell-bent on your demise. To make matters worse, for newcomers of the game, you will be introduced to a world that is ten-folds more difficult than when the game was initially introduced. Nighttime is a nightmare; glowing eyes are evil and everything is ready to pin you down or steal your belongings. Due to this, be prepared to die and lose things early on. A sincere recommendation is to spend a lot of your early levels just leveling up crafting anonymous things and scouting out a place you would like to build. This will help ease a lot of frustrations as well as ensure you are progressing even if you fall to your death by way of compy packs.
Fun Fact: My first base was destroyed when a brontosaurus decided to wear it as a shoe.
3) Skip thatch buildings altogether – Thatch is the very first structure you can learn, and it is necessary to upgrade to better pieces. That being said, it’s not worth your time to build a base out of thatch to convert later. By the time you have built even a tenth of your newly founded thatch mansion, otherwise known to survivors as a “thatchsion,” you will already be able to unlock wooden structures. For newer players, it would be better for you to at least aim to wood structures rather than thatch. Thatch structures still have their uses, such as temporary holding places for expensive structures or easily destroyable. My tribe personally uses thatch flooring in our breeding rooms so that if we have to destroy the floor to move a baby around, because this game is still buggy, we don’t have to worry about wasting good materials. For experienced players starting over, aiming straight for stone might be a wiser decision.
Fun Fact: My early on bases were some of my favorite. Including my spot located off the west coast of the island. This is where I was attacked by two individuals who met the pointy end of my pike and would eventually come to meet one of my current closest friends I’ve met on gaming in a long time. I’m still convinced he lured the alpha raptor to my base to have me offed! I was a naked threat to the server!
4) All Dino’s Go to Heaven – This is important because this can make and break you with tribemates. The creatures of Ark are going to come and go. Once you tame your first tame ever, you feel like you are on top of the world. Occasionally you will find a favorite that gets you out of sticky situations and you will feel like it was a match made in heaven. Let me be the first to break it to you, it’s not. That creature is probably going to die a horrible death. Maybe you become overzealous and lead it to its own death battle? Maybe you get attacked by Bob because you did not heed warning #1? Maybe your new-idiot tribemate decided to take the tame out for a spin and recklessly walked it into the mouth of a giga because he heard someone in the chat announce the location of one? Not only this but if you really want to get the true experience of Ark, you need to be prepared to get your Dr. Henry Wu on and take an interest into breeding. For PvPers, you should live by one mentality, things are tamed and bred to die, they are machines of war, and of war only. You need to be willing to risk that creature, any hesitation could result in that creatures’ death anyway if the enemy breaks your lines and defenses. You can have favorites, but do not become overly attached.
Fun Fact: I once had a paracertherium that met its demise after I used it to block turret shots on the rest of the dinosaur army invading the enemy base of The Croods. This tame was known as ‘Til Death, part of our family guy themed tribe on Primitive server 555 of Xbox.
5) “Don’t Go To Sleep” – This was a classic line of the game when you knew things were about to go down. It was about to turn to 100 super quick and things were about to get real. At the same time, I look back at this and can attest, this would have been one of the kindest things someone could do if they decided they were going to come after you. In retrospective, offline raiding is for cowards, but, it is part of the game. No matter what part of the fence you fall over offline raiding it is an act you have to get used to because it is part of the game, point blank. After all the name of the game is Ark: Survival Evolved, and what easier way to off your enemy when they are asleep, or in this case, away from the game?
6) Walk, Don’t Run – This sounds like an odd thing to suggest, but this is a literal thing you should consider. Nothing is more terrifying than when you need to get away and you do not have the stamina to do so. Early on, this is important because there are a lot of creatures that will sniff you out a good distance away, so being able to sprint away to safety is key. So take your time, pick some bushes for fibers and berries and enjoy the scenery.
Fun Fact: The female megaleceros is the fastest creature in the game, you can literally crash your game if you do nothing but pump speed into her and take her for a quick sprint.
7) Be Smart and Use a Smart Phone App – What game doesn’t have an app these days to coincide with the game? To be honest, the apps for Ark will save you a lot of time and frustrations. Taming timers, how much food you will need for taming, what levels you could expect, stat rating to know how GOOD of a tame you have, how many resources you’ll need to collect for particular items. The app is literally a bible and a calculator at the same time. The two most popular and most used would be Dododex and Survive Ark Companion. While it would be hard to determine which one is better, it really boils down to preference in the interface.
Fun Fact: 145 and 150 tames are the higher level wild creatures, but often times the best stats can be found from the 130 to 140 range. I wouldn’t have really known this without constantly checking the app for stats.
8) Learn the Tricks of the Storage – If you are someone who suffers from OCD, storage may be one of the things on Ark that will be a bane to your time. Learning some of the tricks to how to manage storage will not only save you resources but also increase the capacity of your storage as well. Some things learned throughout the time playing Ark include using feeding troughs to conserve the timer on eggs instead of fridges or preserving bins. Luckily only one type of creature will eat the eggs from your bin and that is the Oviraptor. Even then they will eat smaller eggs before larger eggs. Placing eggs here will help reduce the amount of spark powder for preservation bins if you do not have the fridges available to you. Another trick that almost everyone utilizes is storing large quantity resources on egg layer creatures. Resources such as hide, fiber and thatch are easy to come by, but sometimes large quantities are necessary for high end saddles. Rather than storing these resources in vaults and cabinets, you are better off leaving the resource on a tame that is meant to just stand around base. Just remember which tames you put it on otherwise you get to go on a scavenger search through inventories.
Fun Fact: I once used dodos to hide my personal high-end items such as ascendant sniper rifles and armors.
9) Hide your cables, hide your pipes, airlock your doors, they are raiding everybody out here! – One of the most important thing you can do to secure your base is hiding electrical cables, hiding your pipelines to water and air locking/honeycombing your base. One of the biggest errors tribes make is not keeping their generators flowing to turrets properly. If an enemy can see these pieces exposed, it only takes a few sniper shots or flame arrows to dispose of the exposed parts. This also applies for water pipelines as well that may be flowing towards gardens, used as a water source for drinking or even to an industrial cooker. A secondary precaution that one should take if you plan on playing PvP and even in some instances for PvE, is air locking your door. This means creating a smaller room with an additional door that must be accessed before gaining entry to the main base. This is literally a necessary key to any open world survival. If you want to take an extra step, you could even honeycomb your base, which provides extra layers to have to blow through to break into your base. To honeycomb means to create a one by one layer all around the outside, often times with a pillar running through the center. This makes it harder to topple over structures and requires more munitions by the raiders to break into the base.
Fun Fact: The AnchormanV2 once assisted in a raid and was nakedly stuck into an enemy’s airlock. He went on a Call of Duty-like kill streak. The moral of the story is do not trust naked Anchorman with a pike. *Take that how you want to*
10) The Bigger the Risk, the Bigger the (Potential) Reward – Ark is a game that does feature an RNG style loot drop table. For most arks this comes in the form of multi-tier colored drops ranging from white to green, blue to purple, yellow to finally red. Just like most games, the quality loot increases with the better-colored drop. Standard drops aside, there is also a feature of water drops, desert drops and cave drops. These typically feature more dangerous routes to access but result in better chances of higher quality items. There is a caveat to this: You are reliant solely on RNGeezus blessing you with numerous blueprints for water jars, crop plots and compasses first before you finally get that roll you have been awaiting.
Fun Fact: The safest drops to obtain would be desert red drops on Ragnarok. However, even this can result in having to encounter wild giganotosaurus or desert death worms.
These are just a handful of tips that I can provide you on your journey of survival. While there are a lot more tips that you can learn, ultimately the best learning tool you have at your disposal is your controller with trial and error. Hopefully some of these tips you found useful, if not amusing. Good luck, new survivors.
Are you an Ark veteran? Do you have any tips that you believe new survivors should know? Be sure to comment below to give your hot take on what helped you become the ultimate survivor!